Sunday 18 March 2018 / 05:01 AM


I’m writing this on Sunday afternoon London time, just after Frank de Boer has presided over his fourth straight Premier League loss at the helm of Crystal Palace – this time a 1-0 defeat to Burnley.

What I don’t know is whether he’ll still be in a job by the time you read this.

What I do know is that he should be.

Sure, Crystal Palace’s season has got off to a dreadful start.

Sure, it seems like confidence is low at Palace.

Sure, if it seems like relegation is on the cards, Palace owner Steve Parish will be forced to pull the plug.

But isn’t it all just a little bit soon to be talking of ‘the sack’?

De Boer has clearly been brought into Palace to inject some style and a ‘total football’ philosophy to the club.

And – like anything – injecting a philosophy and a style of play into a club takes time.

It doesn’t ever happen overnight, and to suggest that it does would be incorrect and churlish.

And if Palace are serious about changing their style of football, then they may have to take some short-term pain to achieve long-term gain.

The man that de Boer took over – Sam Allardyce – is famed for his pragmatic ‘route one’ style football, and it was this style of football that saw Palace survive last year.

It is this style of football ingrained in this current crop of players.

Is it easy to change the way you play?

Should the change really be judged after just four competitive fixtures?

The reality is that Palace were actually the better side at Burnley – the Tykes boss Sean Dyche said as much.

However, this time around, they didn’t get the rub of the green, and weren’t able to put the ball in the back of the net.

Do Palace really want to delete any progress that de Boer has made in transforming the club, and replace him with someone who’ll steady the ship, but might well revert to a more standard, less attractive style of football?

Look, I’m not a romantic – I understand that football is a results-based industry, and that if you don’t get results, you’ve got to go.

But in my view, this exit would be a premature one, and could well set Palace back much further than if they just rode it out and allowed de Boer the time he needs to make things work.

Will they do so? We’ll see – he may well have already been sacked by the time you read this.

But I hope not. For Frank’s sake, and for Palace’s too.

[YouTube – Football-Show]

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Seb Greenwood

CBS’s longest-serving contributor, Englishman Seb is our leading football correspondent, pulling no punches with his opinions on the Premier League and the international scene.

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